PLEASANT RIDGE, Ohio — On June 7, 2018, Share Cheesebar owner Emily Frank stood outside Coffee Exchange and watched it disappear into flames.
The three-alarm fire that had started inside an apartment on the upper floors consumed the entire building despite the combined efforts of nearly 100 firefighters, and wrecking crews had demolished the whole thing by sunset. Although not as badly damaged, Molly Malone’s Irish Pub & Restaurant closed for good soon after.
The location went up for sale in January.
"To lose not only one but two businesses in one day was not just a detriment to our business district,” said Jacob Trevino, owner of the nearby Lonely Pine Steakhouse. “It was a detriment to our neighborhood, family and friends.”
Frank agreed. That’s why, she said, she plans to be at Coffee Exchange when it begins the process of reopening in another Montgomery Road location four times the original’s size.
“They have their permits,” she said Friday night. “They’re gearing up for construction. That day can’t come soon enough. I’m sure many of us will be in there painting, helping, doing what we can do to get our friends back open.”
According to Frank, Coffee Exchange had been a community gathering place before the fire destroyed it. The close personal relationships among Pleasant Ridge’s small business owners made the loss even more devastating, but they also became a network of support and friendship afterward.
“We’ve experienced a lot together,” she said. “No matter what, we’ll stick together and support one another.”
She and Trevino both believe that camaraderie is part of the reason new businesses have made — and will continue to make — their homes in Pleasant Ridge.
When Coffee Exchange reopens, Frank added, she already knows what she’ll order: “The largest cup of coffee that I can possibly get there.”